IRS extends deadlines for those hit by Sandy
The IRS is extending filing and payment deadlines for taxpayers living in areas of Connecticut, New York and New Jersey affected by superstorm Sandy.
The tax agency says affected individuals and businesses will have until Feb. 1 next year to file returns and pay any taxes due. The extensions apply to fourth quarter individual estimated tax payments normally due Jan. 15, 2013, and payroll and excise tax returns and payments for the third and fourth quarters which ordinarily are due Oct. 31 and Jan. 31.
The IRS also is alerting employers that qualified disaster-relief payments made to individuals by their employer or others can be excluded from the individuals’ taxable income.
Islanders feel isolated, forgotten
Gazing at her bungalow, swept from its foundation and tossed across the street, Janice Clarkin wondered if help would ever come to this battered island off the coast of Manhattan.
“Do you see anybody here?” she asked, resignation etched on her face. “On the news, the mayor’s congratulating the governor and the governor’s congratulating the mayor. About what? People died.”
Staten Island was devastated beyond recognition by Superstorm Sandy and suffered the highest death toll of all of New York City’s boroughs, including two young brothers who were swept from their mother’s arms by the swirling sea and drowned. Yet days after the waters receded, residents feel ignored and forgotten.
That sense of isolation is deeply rooted on Staten Island, a tight-knit community that has long felt cut off from the bright lights of Manhattan.
“It’s always been that way. We’re a forgotten little island,” said Catherine Friscia, who stood with tear-filled eyes across the street from the Atlantic Ocean in front of homes filled with water and where the air smelled like garbage and rotting fish.
Video of executions raises new concerns about Syrian rebels
A video that appears to show a unit of Syrian rebels kicking terrified, captured soldiers and then executing them with machine guns raised concerns Friday about rebel brutality at a time when the United States is making its strongest push yet to forge an opposition movement it can work with.
U.N. officials and human rights groups believe President Bashar Assad’s regime is responsible for the bulk of suspected war crimes in Syria’s 19-month-old conflict, which began as a largely peaceful uprising but has transformed into a brutal civil war.
But investigators of human rights abuses say rebel atrocities are on the rise.
At this stage “there may not be anybody with entirely clean hands,” Suzanne Nossel, head of the rights group Amnesty International, told The Associated Press.
The U.S. has called for a major leadership shakeup of Syria’s political opposition during a crucial conference next week in Qatar. Washington and its allies have been reluctant to give stronger backing to the largely Turkey-based opposition, viewing it as ineffective, fractured and out of touch with fighters trying to topple Assad.